Russian Feminist Punk Band Pussy Riot Take to the Streets | Print |

Without a doubt, my new favourite band ever. A feminist punk rock collective inspired by Bikini Kill writing anti-Putin songs (“Putin has pissed himself”) and performing in guerrilla-style costumes in Red Square itself.

And to think, my colleagues in the music press used to scorn Riot Grrrl …

From Big Think:

The following story details how one group of girls have taken on Putin. Other revolutionaries take note. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Join an all-girl punk rock band

2. Come up with a provocative name (e.g. “Pussy Riot”)

3. Cover your faces with balaclavas

4. Perform an impromptu concert in Red Square and other public spaces around Moscow

5. Upload concert footage to Youtube and let it go viral

Ladies and gentlemen, here’s Pussy Riot:

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From The Guardian:

Feminist punk band Pussy Riot take revolt to the Kremlin
Anonymous band with provocative anti-Putin lyrics – who have become a symbol of Russian youth’s discontent – are preparing for their next surprise performance

Eight women stood in a line opposite the Kremlin, neon balaclavas hiding their faces, fists pounding the air in rugged defiance. Before police carted them off, the members of Pussy Riot managed to shout their way through a minute-long punk anthem: “Revolt in Russia – the charisma of protest/Revolt in Russia, Putin’s got scared!”

Formed days after Vladimir Putin’s announcement in September that he intended to return to the presidency, Pussy Riot have become the latest symbol of young Russian discontent.

“A lot of us couldn’t sleep after this announcement,” said “Tyurya”, one of the founding members of a punk collective that has grown, since October, to roughly 30 people, including crew. “So we decided, damn it, we need to do something. We always went to protests and things, but it seemed to us we needed to do something more.”

The mid-January performance on Red Square, brazen in its choice of location and lyrics, catapulted the all-female punk band into the pantheon of Russia’s increasingly creative protest movement.

Pussy Riot are sworn to anonymity, hence the colourful balaclavas members use to hide their faces, even when giving interviews. “It shows we can be anybody,” says a band member who goes by the name Garadzha, wearing a hot-pink ski mask and matching stockings.

They decline to reveal the smallest details, aiming to maintain total secrecy. They will say only that most of the band members met at the small protests held by Russia’s once-feebled opposition, from monthly illegal demonstrations calling for the right to assembly to banned gay pride marches. Their average age is 25. They are hardcore feminists. Most studied the humanities in university. They won’t detail their day jobs.

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Analysts say Putin’s ability to govern unchallenged will be severely hampered by the negative reaction to his return. It has not only rocked the Russian elite, but led to a renewal of spirit in Russia’s creative classes. Satirical programmes find no place on state-run television but have blossomed on the internet. Moscow theatres are staging overtly anti-regime plays. And Pussy Riot, who cite riot grrrl pioneers Bikini Kill and cult heroes Sonic Youth as inspiration, continue to perform.

“We wanted to create a new form of protest – maybe not such a huge one, but we compensate for that with the bright, provocative and illegal nature of our performances,” Tyurya said.

Like Russia’s tens of thousands of protesters, the band members don’t know how the authorities will react next time. “After Red Square, they took us roughly, got even angrier than usual,” Tyurya said. “The phrase ‘Putin’s got scared’ – it was a real slap in their faces.”

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Fucking nice music too! I can hear Crass, I can hear Bikini Kill, I can hear Dutch insurrectionists The Ex … but most of all I can hear anger and determination and energy and bleakness and hope and a refusal to lie down and accept things as they are. This band is so, so genius. Great name and great image, too. They totally understand the language of revolt.

Nice to see that the right-wing U.K. broadsheet Daily Telegraph story on Pussy Riot focused on the fact that Pussy Riot wore “Brightly coloured mini-dresses” when they were arrested recently for performing their anti-Putin song at Red Square.

Here’s the band’s journal.

Re-posted with permission from Everett True at Collapse Board. Everett is a regular BUST contributor.